Image of Boro strikers Nugent Stuani Kike Bamford

Let’s start with Patrick Bamford. Yes, he’s a good player. Yes, he was our star man in a Boro shirt last season and yes, I would have him back on Teesside in a heartbeat, but I’m going to look a little deeper into the potential January signing of last season’s Championship Player of the Year, and what effect it could have on the team and our season.

I wanted to touch on the recent articles from our in-house Boro writer, Russ Johnson, who has been suggesting the need for a formation change in games when things are not quite going our way, this need was highlighted as we witnessed Boro struggle against Hull City and then grind out mediocre 1-0 wins against QPR and Rotherham.

I’m not here to bash Aitor’s team selections or the formation but as we sit 2nd in the Championship, I can’t help but wonder about where those Boro goals will come from. Let’s face it, our defensive record has been superb up to now so I’m worried about the games coming up in which we could let in some goals.

The festive period will be a huge test for this team. Do we have the firepower to respond to a team when we go a goal or two behind? This is when we question the formation of playing Nugent on his own up top with another striker (Stuani) on the wing. If we did go a goal down in a game, are we strong enough in the attacking third to get back into games? Do we have enough options up there? I’m not going to answer that, I’ll let the fans decide on those questions.

You might think I’m overreacting here. I mean come on, we are flying and we’re not even out of first gear yet. Bringing Bamford back will somehow change the dynamics of the team and things will start to click and we won’t have to rely on clean sheets anymore to win football matches, but for now I do worry (there’s that word again) about where the goals come from when we go behind in games. Here’s a question for you: How many goals have Boro scored in the 5 games we’ve lost so far this season?

Image of Boro stats

It’s just food for thought at this stage as we enter the festive season and hopefully I will have changed my tune by the time I write the next article. As it stands, Nugent is our main man up top and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon so there will be some thought as to where Bamford, Stuani and Kike will fit in and around the current formation. Is Adomah’s place in jeopardy? AK could potentially play Nugent up top with Bamford and Stuani on the wings. It’s a tremendous Boro squad and the manager has his work cut out to get the best out of it for the rest of season. Good luck señor Karanka.

This Saturday, Boro take on a Birmingham City team which seems to be blowing hot and cold of late. More so cold than hot in the last three games with defeats to Charlton, Brighton and Huddersfield. That said, all games are tough in this league and should be approached with caution, even at home, but I think we’ll be too strong for them as we continue to keep tabs on leaders Brighton.

Sunday morning headline: Red-hot Boro beat cold-blue City.

Up the Boro #UTB

Stuart Young (@lendinho)

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